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#ThrowbackThursday: “Rhythm of the Night” by DeBarge, The First Hit Penned By Diane Warren

by Sean Smith

Last Thursday marked 30 years to the day since the Motown group DeBarge released their popular single “Rhythm of the Night”. This song was not only a big success for the sibling soul group, but it also played a big role in the career of its writer, one Diane Warren. “Rhythm of the Night” is widely credited for being the song that helped break her career.


Diane Warren is arguably one of the top songwriter’s of her generation. The artists who she has written songs for reads like a who’s who of the music business that stretches across both multiple decades and genres. She has written for everyone from KISS to Justin Bieber, and seemingly everyone in between. The reason Diane Warren has written for so many artists is because her lyrics are in high demand, largely due to the track record of success Warren has in penning hit songs. In 1995 she wrote “Un-Break My Heart”, which Toni Braxton would later sing to the top of the charts. In 1989 she wrote “Blame it on the Rain”, which Milli Vanilli would lip-sync all the way to number one. And the list goes on and on.

Toni Braxton 

“Un-Break My Heart”

From Secrets

LaFace/Arista Records

Some of Diane Warren’s most notable songs have been featured prominently in Hollywood films. She co-wrote the Starship song “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” for the 1987 film Mannequin. She penned “Because You Loved Me” for Up Close & Personal in 1996, which was sung by Celine Dion. In 1997, Warren wrote “How Do I Live” for the movie Con Air, a song that was originally recorded by Leann Rimes but was re-recorded by Trisha Yearwood for inclusion in the film. And perhaps Diane Warren’s biggest soundtrack success to date, she wrote “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” for the 1998 blockbuster film Armageddon. A song that would go on to become the very first number one song for Steven Tyler’s Aerosmith. But before Diane Warren wrote any one of these soundtrack classics, she first wrote the subject of this week’s #tbt for a 1985 film.


“Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now”

From 1987’s Mannequin/No Protection

20th Century Fox/Grunt/RCA Records

Celine Dion  

“Because You Loved Me”

From Up Close And Personal Soundtrack/Falling Into You (1996)

Touchstone Pictures/Columbia/Epic Records

Trisha Yearwood

“How Do I Live”

From Con Air (1997)

Touchstone Pictures/Hollywood Records


LeAnn Rimes

“How Do I Live”

From You Light Up My Life: Inspirational Songs

Curb Records


“I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing”

From Armageddon: The Album

Hollywood/Columbia Records

“Rhythm of the Night” was a song Diane Warren wrote and was performed by the Motown group DeBarge. The song was included in the 1985 kung fu themed Motown musical film The Last Dragon, and appeared on the soundtrack. “Rhythm of the Night” also served as the title track and lead single for DeBarge’s fourth studio album, also released in 1985. The song would top the urban chart as well as reach as high as the number three spot on the pop Billboard Hot 100 chart.

In light of the fact that last week marked the 30th anniversary of the release of the Diane Warren penned “Rhythm of the Night” by DeBarge, this week we remember that song as well as the illustrious songwriting career of Diane Warren. Enjoy!